“That’s Awesome!” – Engaging Audiences for Your Organization

What It’s About?

Content Strategy for Professionals 1: Engaging Audiences for Your Organizations by Northwestern University is a MOOC course that is part of the Content Strategy for Professionals in Organization Specialization. Designed with professionals in mind, instructors John Lavine and Candy Lee have created an awesome MOOC for those who would like to gain a better understanding of their audience and develop strategic ways to convey the overall goals of their company. To successfully “pass” the course, learners are required to complete the Shenshi Case Study peer assessment and complete three peer reviews. Each week, the instructors ask an important question to engage the participants and bring the discussion forum to life.

Why It’s Awesome

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 4.07.43 PM (2)What makes this MOOC truly awesome is the way the video content is structured. The MOOC contains six modules that are broken into two or three parts. In the modules, there are two interview segments; the first interview covers the learning content and the second interview showcases professional knowledge who have real world experience.  Following the video lectures, learners can see examples of ‘best practices’ from companies such as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Philips in Asia, SunLife Financial in Canada, AkzoNobel, and AT&T, and how they used content strategy to engage their audiences.

Using a three camera set up and three point lighting technique, Northwestern was able to create a professional looking video. Great care was taken in the lighting so that Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 2.53.23 PM (2)neither person was over or underexposed, even during times when a window can be seen in the background. Poor lighting can often be distracting and come off as amateurish and low budget. Unless your MOOC calls for remote locations or on the go segments, guerrilla style shooting should usually be avoided.

Through the entire set of lectures, Lavine and his interviewees always maintain a sense of engagement. Often times, you will see an interviewer appear too relaxed, which can give the impression of disengagement or not interested. By maintaining an upright posture and leaning in slightly, Lavine and company are consistently perceived as inviting, making viewers feel engaged and welcomed–“Hey, come in and join us.”

One element that is often overlooked when creating a video lecture is using branding concepts, such as the consistent use color and style, to create consistency among a set a video lectures. Although creating a brand was probably not the overall goal for Northwestern when creating this MOScreen Shot 2015-04-09 at 2.17.49 PM (2)OC, some branding concepts remain. Various shades of reds, blacks, and white are used throughout the entire set of videos, including the interview conducted at IBM where Lavine chooses to wear a black suit contrasted with a red bow tie. Introduction and informational slides maintain consistency by utilizing the same colors and font style.

It is clear that the Northwestern team spent a lot of time in the pre-production process, leaving no detail unaddressed. This MOOC shows you that with a little structure and a few extra minutes of thought, it does not take much to create a professional looking video.